The GOP is—there’s no other word for it—in disarray. After last year’s epic thumpin’, in which they lost 40 seats in the House, Republicans found themselves in a deep hole. To claw their way back to the majority, they need to add 20 seats to their current ranks.
It’s not going well.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the official campaign arm of the House GOP, has gotten lacerated in recent weeks over its chaotic PR efforts and shabby fundraising—so much so that a nasty dispute burst into the open between committee chair Tom Emmer and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House.
That was last week. This week, the knives are out for Emmer, and they are so very, very sharp. We’d be happy to rag on Emmer all day, but there’s no need. We’re going to let Republicans do the trash-talking for us—including sitting Republican members of Congress:
“It’s a disaster what is going on across the street at NRCC,” said one GOP lawmaker, who was granted anonymity to speak more freely. “Their communication is bad. Some of the stuff is bizarrely overly aggressive. They’re not raising the money. They don’t have buy-in from members. And it’s getting worse.”
Same guy? Someone else? Doesn’t matter:
“His team is inept. They have no idea what they’re doing, and their strategy is not putting Republicans in a good position to take back the House,” one disgruntled GOP lawmaker told The Hill.
On the NRCC’s justly maligned communications shop:
“I think in the larger conversation, what I see is, is just a lack of strategy, and just a series of trolling,” a former Republican National Committee official said. “And that can be fun to do, but not as fun as winning House races.”
And here’s one member complaining on the record about some of that trolling:
“I was bothered by that attack on Max Rose,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). “The president’s got his own unique style. I don’t think we need to mimic it. I was really disappointed by that and I hope we do better.”
On the humiliating retirement of recruitment chair Susan Brooks, who didn’t even inform the committee of her departure before announcing it publicly:
“When Emmer asked Brooks if she would take charge of recruiting new candidates for the House, she told him that she hadn’t decided if she was going to run for reelection herself in 2020, yet she was still named recruitment chair,” one senior Republican said.
“Now she’s officially not seeking reelection, and so it makes this whole recruitment thing a bit awkward. I just think this little anecdote reveals the dysfunction within the NRCC right now. She should have never been named recruitment chair,” the lawmaker added.
On the chair himself:
“He’s well liked in the conference, but the general feeling is he’s not getting the job done,” one lawmaker said, referring to Emmer. “That is also affecting attitudes toward [House Minority Leader] Kevin [McCarthy], as Tom was his hand-picked guy.”
On the fact that the GOP, literally fifteen years after the launch of ActBlue, has no equivalent of its own (and yes, this is another member speaking on the record):
“I would have hoped it would be launched by now. Because I do believe sooner is better than later,” said GOP Rep. Tom Reed of New York. “It’s a real concern by a lot of members… This needs to get done.”
In fact, there were several more members who openly grumbled about how far behind their party is when it comes to online fundraising, and they should be worried. Their counterparts at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee just announced it raised $8.8 million in the month of May, including $4.5 million from the sort of small donors the GOP’s been incapable of harnessing.
In fact, that small-donor figure is almost as much as the $4.8 million the NRCC raised overall—from all sources—during the entire month. And year to date, the DCCC has just obliterated its Republican rivals, bringing in $49 million to just $35 million for the GOP.
A few more months like this and who knows which heads might roll? Stay tuned as the Tom Emmer Deathwatch continues!
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include the NRCC’s May fundraising totals.